Computer Visual Syndrome: A 21st Century Disease

Fatigue and redness of the eyes, dryness, burning sensations, blurred vision — these issues are quite common among users of computers and smartphones. How do you protect your eyes?

Dr. Irene

pediatrician, otolaryngologist, phoniatrician

The term "computer vision syndrome" was coined back in 1998 by the American Optometric Association. Only a select few could have imagined that the problem would become so widespread 20 years later. On average, people spend more than 5–7 hours a day on their devices. In the case of self-isolation and working from home, this figure increases significantly and can reach 16 hours a day.

Are computers the only thing to blame?

To start, don’t rush to conclusions and blame your devices. Thanks to advancements in technology, harm from electromagnetic radiation is no longer a concern. Studies show that even when viewing a screen from a distance of 10cm or less, there are no discernable consequences.

Physical radiation from monitors and screens is not to blame for the development of computer vision syndrome. Modern monitors work on the green color spectrum rather than the blue, which is more beneficial to the retina. In addition, displays have become clearer and have higher contrast, causing less eye strain.

Often, the additional load is placed on the eyes due to inefficient workspace organization, a lack of movement during the day, and other small mistakes. Making small changes is in your best interest—experts claim that myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism reduce work efficiency by at least 20 percent!

How to avoid overloading your eyes

Subdued background lighting, anti-reflective coatings for displays and lenses, and choosing the right monitor with high-resolution screens will help prevent unnecessary eye strain.

Pay attention to the light level of your desktop. The brightness level of the screen should match the illumination level of the workplace. Light from desk lamps should not enter your eyes or the computer screen; only use the light to illuminate documents or areas of the desk.

A comfortable posture and correct monitor positioning can reduce eye and back strain. Monitors should be placed at a distance of 23-28 inches and 4-8 inches below eye level for best results.

Find a comfortable and orthopedic chair. Do not place the device on your lap, as long periods in this position can cause fatigue and discomfort across the body.

Make sure you are blinking often enough to prevent dry and irritated eyes. If you have further concerns, consider asking your doctor for eye drops which can be used throughout the day.

Prolonged focus on screens can lead to sight irregularities and decrease the eye's ability to focus at different distances. Take breaks from work to let your eyes rest. A common mistake is to switch from a computer to a smartphone during a break.

Experts recommend looking at an object in the distance every 20 minutes to relax your eyes. Alternatively, look away from the screen for 20 seconds and then at an object nearby. Repeat this process about 10 times to give your eyes a rest.

Break time is good for getting up, moving around, and doing physical exercises, especially for the neck and back. Taking frequent breaks will help you avoid irritability, tension, stress, and increase your productivity!

Should any discomfort occur, do not self-medicate. Incorrect usage of eye drops can aggravate the eyes further, causing additional redness or irritation.

Visit an eye doctor twice a year for preventative examinations or in cases of sudden discomfort. Pay attention to recommendations from healthcare professionals and working remotely will have no adverse effects on your health.

23 March 2021

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emily foster
• 3 y.

Emily fostre